By Anson Wainwright
Since turning pro in early 2013, Jeff Horn has been very active while also steadily ramping up the level of opposition.
The 26-year old Australian won the national title in just his fifth professional bout stopping the usually durable Samuel Colomban midway through the opening round. It was a win that got Horn attention.
“Having fought the best in the world in the amateurs I never wanted to spend much time fighting average guys," Horn told BoxingScene.com from his training base in Australia “I had trained every day to land that winning punch and unfortunately for Sam (Colomban), the stars alined and it was on."
Two fights later Horn fought former two-time world champion Naoufel Ben Rabeh. The Australian standout would win a competitive six-round bout.
“That was certainly my hardest fight to date but I felt I learnt a massive amount in that fight.” he said.
Horn (7-0-1, 6 knockouts) meets world ranked Brazilian Fernando Ferreira tomorrow. It marks another step up in his fledgling career.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to gain international exposure, being my first international bout and first on Pay-Per-View,” said Horn “(it’s) being broadcast by Sky Arena in New Zealand and Main Event in Australia. This fight represents the beginning of the next phase in my career as I build toward a world title opportunity.”
Horn-Ferreira takes place in Manukau City, New Zealand as chief support to fellow up and comer heavyweight sensation Joseph Parker who faces American fringe contender Brian Minto.
Anson Wainwright - You return to action July 5, in New Zealand against Fernando Ferreira. What are your thoughts on that bout?
Jeff Horn - I'm excited to be given the opportunity of this fight in New Zealand on the Joseph Parker v Brian Minto card by the promoter Duco Events. It’s a great opportunity for me to gain international exposure, being my first international bout and first on Pay-Per-View, (it’s) being broadcast by Sky Arena in NZ and Main Event in Australia. This fight represents the beginning of the next phase in my career as I build toward a world title opportunity.
I have watched a little bit of footage of Fernando Ferreira. He is a very experienced fighter with 36 pro fights with an impressive 32 wins, having earned him a ranking in the top 15 in the world in the WBA. He has knocked out 24 guys in those fights, so I know he must be a fairly hard puncher.
I always believe in my ability, and I know that if I prepare and execute well I can beat him. However, I am expecting a tough fight from the Brazilian who will be trying to take my WBO Oriental title.
BoxingScene.com - You last fight was in March when you stopped Rivan Cesaire in nine rounds. Tell us about that fight?
JH - Rivan Cesaire is a very good boxer with a very fast counter off both sides. I was able to apply pressure with my jab in the early stages, off which I got a knockdown in the first round. Rivan was hard to hit clean and provided solid competition through the middle rounds. After the midway point I felt I was pretty much wearing him down. I was intent on stepping up the pressure after the 8th round and was starting to land some good right hands when one cannoned off Rivan’s left shoulder blade as he rolled forward and he suffered an unfortunate dislocation that ended the fight. So (I got) a TKO in the end for the win and the WBO Oriental Belt.
BoxingScene.com - What are your goals for this year?
JH - This year is all about positioning myself in the welterweight division. I want the fights that will take me to a world title shot in one of the big four organizations by the end of 2015. I get married later this year so I’m only expecting to get three fights in this year so I intend to make them count.
BoxingScene.com - How do you feel you've adapted to the pros?
JH - I have always being told when I was an amateur that I had a good pro style, so my move to the pros has come fairly naturally. As the longer fights have come, of course the training intensity and duration has increased. My coach Glenn Rushton has always stressed the importance of training for what I am getting ready for. I’ve always felt fresh and fit for what I’ve fought so far but I know that I have a couple of levels that I can go to yet as I move into the really big fights.
BoxingScene.com - You appeared at the 2012 Olympics in London, what was that experience like?
JH - Walking out at that opening ceremony in London was just like I dreamt it…amazing! That was a real feeling of accomplishment and gave me great confidence and strength to give it my best in London. To win two fights at the Olympic games is something that really gave me the confidence that I can compete with anybody in the world in my division in boxing. Unfortunately I fought the wrong style of fight against (Denis) Berinchyk (Horn lost 13-21) which could have cost me a bronze medal, that’s boxing. There is little time to get it perfect in the amateurs. This final experience as an amateur gave me the confidence and experience to move into my professional career and I felt the time was right.
BoxingScene.com - Prior to the Olympics, you had a pretty good amateur career, can you tell us what your achievements were? What top amateurs did you face, how did you do? What was your final record?
JH - I had 66 amateur fights 47 wins (9KOs) and 19 losses. I know this seems only a few in comparison to others, however, I never fought at a club level and really began my career at the elite level. That’s why I’m confident to step it up quickly in the pros. I had a baptism of fire, starting off at the State titles and winning!
I fought many great fighters from the very beginning, too many to mention them all. A few of top internationals I fought would be Denis Berinchyk, Everton Dos Santos Lopez and Thomas Stalker.
I won four state titles and three national titles as an amateur as well as Golden Gloves and Arafura gold medals. I competed at the 2011 world championships in Azerbaijan and set a world record highest score for a win at World’s in the first round (Horn outpointed Elias Ortega 42-5). I was beaten by the eventual gold medal winner Everton Dos Santos Lopez in the second round.
Finally then at the London Olympics where I had two wins.
Overseas I was unable to attain a gold medal however, I did receive a few silver and bronze medals and gained a wealth of international experience.
BoxingScene.com - What were your younger days growing up Brisbane, Australia like?
JH - Great, I used to play soccer. I played for 12 years during my school days. I lived on a large 4 acre block in Pallara which was a great place to grow up. I have a younger brother Ben who has been in my corner for all of my fights, two sisters Rebecca and Bianca and have great support from all of my extended family, mum and dad have always been my biggest supporters.
BoxingScene.com - How did you become interested in boxing?
JH - I had finally accepted I was not going to make it as a soccer player so I decided to have a little break and try something a bit different for self-defence and fitness. I was brought along to the boxing gym by my cousin Mathew. After a year doing self-defence and basic boxing then a month or so of more serious sparing, my trainer Glenn Rushton took me to the side and told me then and there that he could take me to the Olympics and then become a professional world champion. The rest is history, we are currently half way there and have hit all our goals along the way. I count myself lucky to have teamed up with Glenn Rushton. He has an amazing coaching record and a very close connection with all of our team.
BoxingScene.com - Away from boxing, tell us a little about yourself?
JH - In my leisure time I don’t really drink at all except for special occasions and never when I’m in fight prep mode. What I love doing is playing games with friends and family. I am very competitive! Nearly every weekend we will get together and play board games and the PlayStation. I also love to play cards, especially poker. I am a school teacher, school master according to the Olympic boxing commentators (laughs). That has stuck pretty well. When a suitable major sponsor comes along I will move into a full time boxing and training routine. I have a few small sponsors but am looking for a suitable major sponsor to come on board and be part of something really exciting.
BoxingScene.com - Do you have a message for the welterweight division?
JH - Yes I have. I am coming…If you’re in my way to get that number one spot I will beat you.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwrightTags: Jeff Horn